A good cycle leg forms the foundation of any good tri performance. If you can finish the bike leg feeling strong, you are likely to be able to push yourself right to the end on the run.
For most of us, bike fitness is the most difficult to maintain over the cold, wet, dark winter months. If you work from Monday to Friday, getting out in the evenings is both unappealing and dangerous. If you are looking to improve your tri performance next season, one weekend ride each week just isn’t enough.
Unless you are very new to triathlon training it’s likely that you will know a little about turbo training. Still, I hope you will bear with us if we start with a very basic introduction.
Turbo training lets you train on your own road bike in a controlled, indoor, environment. if used properly, it can greatly improve your bike fitness when an evening ride is just not possible.
The turbo trainer itself lifts your back wheel slightly off the ground and can add resistance to your ride. The way that they provide, adjust and monitor this resistance varies depending on how much you spend on your turbo trainer. The more expensive models also incorporate advanced measurement features such as heart rate, speed, power and cadence monitoring.
The major benefit of turbo training is that you are able to put together tailored training programmes which you can perform on your own bike. This means that as well as building your bike fitness, you are also able to work on your technique and ride position.
Getting Set Up
One of the main considerations if you are considering building some turbo training into your schedule is where you are going to do it. If you are planning on setting your turbo trainer up indoors you need to be prepared for the sweat! Without the breeze that will usually cool you down when riding, sweat is going to be dripping all over your bike and living room floor.
There are a couple of precautions you can take. Firstly, protect your bike. If you are turbo training on a regular basis, sweat will gradually corrode your bike components. You can get around this problem by using towels to mop up the sweat and giving your bike a thorough wipe down after each session. It’s also a good idea to either put a towel or newspaper down underneath your bike to protect your flooring. Our final recommendation would be to invest in a decent fan and have it set up right in front of the bike!
The next consideration is how you are going to counter the boredom which will act as the biggest barrier to training. Two turbo sessions per week looking at the same piece of wall is enough to drive anyone mad. There are lots of ways you can counter this. Listen to music. Set a computer or iPad up in front of you and watch a film. There are even training programs, apps or DVDs which give you a visual training program to keep you motivated.
Next week we will be publishing a follow up article which will outline the basic training principles behind using a turbo trainer and some high-gain turbo training sessions for triathletes.